NASHUA - There's more than 1,000 reasons why Bishop Guertin's Meghan Green will be playing Division I basketball in college next year. She gave us 18 of them Tuesday.
The 6-foot senior was a dominating force inside, grabbing 18 rebounds - and going over 1,000 for her career in the process - to lead the Cardinals to a 57-42 win over previously undefeated Pinkerton Academy of Derry.
Green also scored 15 points, eight in the third quarter when the Cardinals (14-1) finally shook off the Astros (14-1).
And, here's the thing: BG coach Scott Hazleton wasn't particularly pleased with the way his Boston University-bound star was playing.
"I don't think she played well," Hazleton said. "We want her to be more of a vocal leader and make her presence felt physically. I got on her at halftime."
Green, who went over 1,000 points last year, responded.
She scored eight points, six on offensive rebounds, during a 14-5 run that put BG ahead 45-30 with 1:12 left in the third quarter.
"We had a hard time guarding Green inside," Pinkerton coach John Barry. "We're too short. She was in the paint too long and they allowed it."
Nikki Hayner, who knocked down three 3s and finished with a game-high 17 points, had all 10 of BG's points in the fourth quarter. Pinkerton's Sam Breslin had 10 of her team-high 13 points in the third quarter.
BG, the defending Division I champion, jumped out to an 11-0 lead over the surprising Astros, but credit Pinkerton for sticking around and managing to cut the deficit to four points late in the second quarter.
The air from the Astros' unbeaten bubble was gushing out in the opening quarter as they came up empty on their first 13 possessions. They were 0-for-10 from the field and committed two turnovers in the fruitless span of nearly seven minutes.
"We started rushing our offense," Barry said. "We're usually more in control."
Corina Moore (11 points) finally got Pinkerton on the board with a 3-pointer with 1:04 left in the quarter.
The Cardinals attacked the basket, controlled the boards and forced Pinkerton into settling for outside shots as they went up 11-3 after one quarter. In a matchup of the two top defensive teams in the division, the Cardinals came out on top.
"We've been doing that all year," Hazleton said.
Moore, a junior who came off the bench, added seven points in the second quarter, including two more 3s, to help the Astros get back in the game.
Pinkerton made a concerted effort to drive more to the basket in the second quarter and it paid dividends as the Astros got to within four points, 22-18, late in the quarter. The Astros had chances to make it closer, but were 4-for-10 from the foul line and went into the half trailing 25-18.
While Hazelton said it was just another game for his team - he said they never scouted the Astros or watched any film of them - Green said the Cardinals were well aware of Pinkerton's record.
"We wanted to say we are the best team in the state," Green said. "We wanted to go out and make a statement."firstname.lastname@example.org